Today I am delighted to join the blog tour for The Girl In The Photo by Heidi Amsinck, book two in the Jensen series. I really enjoyed the first book in the series when I read it last year and so was keen to catch up with Jensen again to see what she got caught up in this time. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the blog tour invite and to publisher Muswell Press for the advance copy of the book. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
When ninety-year-old Irene Valborg is found brutally murdered in an affluent suburb of Copenhagen, her diamond necklace missing, it looks like a burglary gone wrong.
When two more victims are attacked, the police lament a rise in violence against the elderly, but who is the young girl in the photo found by DI Henrik Jungersen on the scenes of crime? Impatient to claim her inheritance, Irene’s daughter hires former Dagbladet reporter Jensen and her teenage apprentice Gustav to find the necklace.Questioning his own sanity, while trying to fix his marriage, Henrik finds himself once more pitched in a quest for the truth against Jensen – the one woman in Copenhagen he is desperate to avoid.
I’ve really enjoyed catching up with Jensen, Gustav and Henrik in a book that is a mixture of thriller, mystery and a whole heap of soul searching, especially from the central characters. It’s fair to say that some of them are still struggling with the fall out from the previous case, and whilst Jensen is perhaps more philosophical than most and really just focused on the cases in front of her, Gustav and Henrik are facing a far more turbulent and emotional time. It made for a really engrossing and intriguing read, as I found myself learning more about the characters, their key motivations and actions, and was as keen to see this side of the story develop as much as I was investigating the actual murders.
The main focus of Henrik’s investigation, and Jensen’s although for entirely different reasons, is the murder of octogenarian Irene Valborg. Beaten to death in her own home, it initially looks as though robbery might be the motive. And with a priceless piece of jewelry missing, that’s a fair assumption to make. But this isn’t the first elderly murder victim that Henrik has seen, and the deeper her digs, the more certain he is that there must be a link between the victims. And he’s not alone in thinking that something that doesn’t sit quite right – Jensen and Gustav, hired to find the missing jewelry, also have misgivings about what has really happened, and why Irene would suddenly go to such great lengths to secure her home. It’s a keen mystery, one which is slowly but surely explored, the clues being drip fed to readers at just the right time, allowing us to piece together the parts of the puzzle that will make everything very clear. The key to the whole mystery, the eponymous ‘girl in the photo’ – if only anyone knew who she was …
I really do like the characters that Heidi Amsinck has developed in this series. Jensen is a very independent and determine woman, trying to strike out on her own this time around and put her ill advised relationship with henrik behind her. Easier said than done as their fortunes are inextricably linked through the case they are both investigating, but it is a very restrained and cautious involvement between them. No denying the spark between them, no matter how hard they try, but they work well together, even when apart. No mean feat, but something that the author has made very believable and which added to my interest in the characters. Henrik is very much in a bad place when we meet him again, and his personal issues impact on his work and his ability to get his team and his bosses to see what he, and we as readers, can plainly see. I liked seeing this almost out of control, emotional side of Henrik. It made him more accessible and relatable as a character, but didn;t hold back his keen investigative skills. You can’t keep a good dog down, as they say.
For me it was Gustav who was a revelation in this particular book. We learn far more about him, his back story and the reasons he came to live in Copenhagen with his Aunt. He’s very well crafted as a character, the churlishness and exuberance of youth rolled into one, but with a very deep side that we hadn’t yet seen. We knew he had a secret, but not the extent of it, and its reveal, when it comes, blends perfectly into the story, helping us understand why he acts as he does and why this particular case really seems to have gotten to him.
There are some very key and relevant themes covered in this book. Whilst the main focus is on the murders, there is a wider look at the importance of family, how those relationships can be tangled and complicated, no matter who you are and how this in turn comes to inform personalities and actions. The book also touches on bullying and its after effects, to a lesser but no less impactful degree. There isn’t really a wasted moment in the book. Even the case that Jensen is investigating for ‘Deep Throat’ adds a layer of jeopardy and tension to the story, whilst the main cases add a whole host of questions and a copious amount of frustration as each lead seems to hit a dead end. Was I surprised by the overall reveal, the moment when the killer is ‘unmasked’? Not really, but I didn’t need to be. This was less about the who than the why and, in that respect, was very cleverly executed by the author.
As for the ending … well Heidi Amsinck has certainly set us up well and I am very interested to know what got both Henrik and Deep Throat so hot under the collar. The story is far from over and I can’t wait for the next instalment to see just what they are all hiding. A fabulous mystery with great characters. If you loved book one, you’ll love this too.
About the Author
Heidi Amsinck is a writer and journalist born in Copenhagen. She was London Correspondent for the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten. She has written many stories for BBC Radio 4, including the story sets Danish Noir, Copenhagen Confidential and Copenhagen Curios, all read by Tim McInnerney. She was previously shortlisted for the VS Pritchett Memorial Prize. Heidi lives in London. Last Train to Helsingør her first collection of stories, which appeared on BBC R4, was published in 2018. My Name is Jensen her first thriller was published to critical acclaim in 2021
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